£1 billion fund launched to support SMES

Pictured: Emma and Fergus MacDonald owners of the Tartan Blanket Co who secured funding from last year’s fund to support their expansion

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HSBC UK has launched a £15bn lending fund today for small and medium sized businesses with £1 billion ring-fenced to support local economies, employment opportunities and drive growth across Scotland.

Whilst concerns about the broader market remain, HSBC’s customers are thinking about growth via investment, acquisitions and capital expenditure. Businesses have told us that they are ready to invest for growth and are confident about the prospects for their own businesses. They point to the biggest areas of opportunity as sustainability (12%) and digitisation (11%).

The Fund is a key part of HSBC’s commitment to help British businesses to innovate, thrive and grow in the UK and internationally. SMEs are vital to the UK economy and account for three fifths of the employment and around half of turnover in the UK private sector according to the FSB. The Fund, which includes specific regional and locally focussed allocations, will seek to ensure that companies throughout the country can benefit.

This year’s fund also includes ring-fenced funding for businesses trading internationally (£2 billion), in the agriculture sector (£1.2 billion) the tech sector (£500m) and franchise businesses (£500m).

It is also aligned with the Green SME Fund (£500m) for businesses of all sizes to transition and thrive in a low carbon economy and the new Growth Lending Fund (£250m) for high growth tech businesses to support well-equitised, high growth, loss-making scale ups early in their growth journey.

Since launching the SME Fund in 2014, HSBC has lent more than £90 billion helping businesses to make the most of their money, now and into the future and opening up a world of opportunity for our customers. 

In 2021, the HSBC UK SME Fund enabled an Edinburgh-based blanket and scarf company to extend its premises and hire 40 new staff with a seven-figure funding package. The Tartan Blanket Co. purchased a new, 32,000 sq ft warehouse in Newbridge with the bank’s support, to meet increased demand from international customers.

Small Business Minister, Paul Scully said: “This new fund puts HSBC on course to have lent more than £100 billion to UK small businesses within a decade, which is a great milestone for HSBC and even better for the communities across the country being helped to thrive.”

“This extra funding builds on the support available through government schemes like Help to Grow and Start Up Loans to help small businesses grow and reach their full potential.”

Small Business Commissioner, Liz Barclay, said: “The challenges facing small businesses are beyond imagination. The problems caused by poor payment practices such as late or delayed payments, and extended payment terms pile pressure on cash flow. Small firms are the lifeblood of the economy, and they must be paid fast and fair, and if they are to have the confidence to invest and build the resilience, they’ll need to weather the storms ahead and they will need the support of funds like this more than ever”.

Peter McIntyre, Head of Business Banking at HSBC UK, said: “SME are vital to the UK economy, and our customers have told us they are ready to invest for growth.  The £15 billion fund will help businesses to expand internationally, as well as here in the UK, supporting key sectors and driving investment across the regions.”

“We want to make a significant contribution to economies across the country, driving employment, local wealth and growth by providing funding, when and where it’s needed most. We know our customers are innovating and adapting at pace and British businesses need their bank to be flexible, supporting future growth opportunities.”

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